The Atlanta Hawks haven’t faced the stiffest competition thus far, beating the Rockets and Magic. Atlanta was back at it Sunday evening, looking to start the season 3-0 as they hosted the hobbled Hornets. Unfortunately, the Hawks were unable to even sniff Charolette in the second half, losing 126-109.
Despite a slow offensive start for most of the team, Trae Young was getting everything he wanted early and often. It seemed Young wasn’t satisfied with the team’s slow starts in the first two games because he took over in the first quarter, scoring nine points and initiating a bevy of other successful possessions.
However, this is where it all went downhill. Young picked up his third foul in the first quarter, which led to Dejounte Murray coming off the bench earlier than usual. And when Young returned, the opportunities weren’t nearly as successful as before.
The Hornets came out in the second quarter on fire while the Hawks went into an offensive slump. An 11-0 run gave Charolette a 33-30 lead before Nate McMillan finally called a timeout. For most of the second quarter, Atlanta was fighting from behind, having a difficult time stopping the lowly Hornets’ offense. Young re-entered the game midway through the second and immediately gave Murray a wide-open three-attempt.
Trae dimes DJ for 3 pic.twitter.com/0pv4J4dGJI
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) October 23, 2022
Thankfully, the Hawks were able to get within four points before the half, thanks to an 8-2 run to end the second, despite being down as many as 10 points.
However, that run didn’t carry over into the second half. To begin the third quarter, the Hornets went on a 10-0 run, extending the lead to 14 points. And they never looked back. For much of the third quarter, the Hawks offense was anemic.
Young did lead a small comeback of his own with a 9-0 run to bring the Hawks deficit to single digits, but as was the theme the entire night, the Hornets regrouped, extending their lead to as many as 20.
McMillan emptied the bench eventually, and we got our first glimpse of AJ Griffin, who scored five quick points.
The Hawks five starters finished in double-digits, as Trae Young led the way with 28 points and nine assists. Murray finished with 19 points to go along with five assists and nine rebounds. Onyeka Okongwu flashed that jump shot we’ve heard about, adding 10 points off the bench.
It’s becoming more and more clear the Hawks have a serious three-point shooting problem, 22.9% from beyond the arc in this one and 30.3% on the season. Hopefully, we’ll see more of AJ Griffin in the rotation. But it’s far too early to panic. The Hawks play the Pistons on Wednesday and Friday in Detroit, then head to Milwaukee to face the Bucks on Saturday.
Photo: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire